Apr 17, 2013, 12:57 PM EDT
If there’s one team that appreciates the importance of goaltending, it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Jackets came into last season with one of the highest payrolls in the NHL, but they didn’t have the right goalie.
They finished dead last.
And wouldn’t you know it, they’re fighting for a playoff spot.
“The big thing [Bobrovsky’s] done for our team is he’s just given our whole team confidence,” head coach Todd Richards told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “That’s what that one position can do to a team. It’s no different than in baseball when you have your ace of the pitching staff taking the mound; you go in with a different feeling that day. It gives everyone else confidence. That’s what Bobby has really done. He’s played great and he deserves all things people are talking about in terms of maybe awards at the end of the year. He’s earned that. But the big thing for our team even more than the big save here and there is the confidence that it gives everyone else to go out and play.”
Bobrovsky is 17-10-6 with a .931 save percentage.
Among regular starters, only Ottawa’s Craig Anderson (.949) has a higher save percentage than Bobrovksy. (And Anderson only has 19 starts to Bobrovsky’s 32.)
The Jackets aren’t the only team that’s seen its goaltending improve dramatically this season, with a resultant jump in the standings.
Toronto and Chicago have seen it, too. The Maple Leafs are on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time since 2004; the Blackhawks have barely lost all year.
Meanwhile, teams like Calgary, Florida, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Tampa Bay and Carolina can only wonder where they’d be had their goalies been better or healthier.
- Coyotes bring back Vermette with two-year deal 3
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 37
- Bruins sign Beleskey for five years, despite some warning signs 32
- Kessel trade shows Leafs are trying to ‘build this thing the right way’ 17
- Green signs with Red Wings — 3 years, $18 million 22
- ‘It’s hard to find players like Phil Kessel’ 35
- Kassian traded to Habs for Prust; Hodgson signs with Preds 15
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins 126
- Oilers get Sekera for six years, closing in on Letestu 7
- Avalanche sign veteran d-man Beauchemin for three years 6
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (126)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)